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By FRANK RICH

ELECTION junkies in acute withdrawal need suffer no longer. Though the exciting Obama-McCain race is over, the cockfight among the losers has only just begun. The conservative crackup may be ugly, but as entertainment, it’s two thumbs up!

Over at Fox News, Greta Van Susteren has been trashing the credibility of her own network’s chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron, for his report on Sarah Palin’s inability to identify Africa as a continent, while Bill O’Reilly valiantly defends Cameron’s honor. At Slate, a post-mortem of conservative intellectuals descended into name-calling, with the writer Ross Douthat of The Atlantic labeling the legal scholar Douglas Kmiec a “useful idiot.”

In an exuberant class by himself is Michael Barone, a ubiquitous conservative commentator who last week said that journalists who trash Palin (more than a few of them conservatives) do so because “she did not abort her Down syndrome baby.” He was being “humorous,” he subsequently explained to Politico, though the joke may be on him. Barone writes for U.S. News & World Report, where his 2008 analyses included keepers like “Just Call Her Sarah ‘Delano’ Palin.” Just call it coincidence, but on Election Day, word spread that the once-weekly U.S. News was downsizing to a monthly — a step closer to the fate of Literary Digest, the weekly magazine that vanished two years after its straw poll predicted an Alf Landon landslide over Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936.

Will the 2008 G.O.P. go the way of the 1936 G.O.P., which didn’t reclaim the White House until 1952? Even factoring in the Democrats’ time-honored propensity for self-immolation, it’s not beyond reason. The Republicans are in serious denial. A few heretics excepted, they hope to blame all their woes on their unpopular president, the inept McCain campaign and their party’s latent greed for budget-busting earmarks.

The trouble is far more fundamental than that. The G.O.P. ran out of steam and ideas well before George W. Bush took office and Tom DeLay ran amok, and it is now more representative of 20th-century South Africa during apartheid than 21st-century America. The proof is in the vanilla pudding. When David Letterman said that the 10 G.O.P. presidential candidates at an early debate looked like “guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club,” he was the first to correctly call the election.

On Nov. 4, that’s roughly the sole constituency that remained loyal to the party — minus its wealthiest slice, a previously solid G.O.P. stronghold that turned blue this year (in a whopping swing of 34 percentage points). The Republicans lost every region of the country by double digits except the South, which they won by less than double digits (9 points). They took the South only because McCain, who ran roughly even with Obama among whites in every other region, won Southern whites by 38 percentage points.

Blue areas show Democrat gains.

Blue areas show Democrat gains.

Read it all….

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

McCain House #6—Sunday Night

    “John, would you please go in the kitchen and fix me a ham sandwich?”

    “Let me say this, Cindy. I know how to fix a ham sandwich, and I will fix a ham sandwich when I’m elected president. For starters, I know where the kitchen is and I know how to find it. I know where the plates are. I know where the bread is, and I will be the one to pull out the right number of slices and place them on the plate in such a way that the mustard can be spread.

    Yes, my friends, I know where the mustard is and as president I will have a plan to spread it effectively. I know this stuff because I am a maverick. I can do it and I will do it. Let’s talk about lettuce. My opponent is inexperienced on this issue. I’ve been around long enough to know about Romaine, butter, iceberg, bib, Boston and celtuce, as well as loose greens like mesclun. But I promise you this: I will fight every day against the advancing red tide of commie cabbage and I’m not afraid to use force if necessary.

    I know how to lead this nation in these dangerous leafy times, my friends. Now, I see the yellow light on my lectern is blinking, but if I may for a moment address another critical issue facing this country today, and that is the thickness of domestic pre-packaged ham slices. When I was a POW, we didn’t have ham, my friends, or even a chair…”

    “Oh fer god’s sake, never mind. I’ll have the butler do it.”

Source: Daily Kos

 Laughing it up - good old boys iron out the wrinkles in their relationship - after all wasn't it Rove who help defeat McCain's earlier bid for presidency - with the same tactics he's now trying to get McCain to use against Obama/Biden - you just get that feeling something is going to go wrong with this plan. It's that whole universe thing.

Laughing it up - good old boys iron out the wrinkles in their relationship - after all wasn't it Rove who help defeat McCain - with the same tactics he's now trying to get McCain to use against Obama/Biden - you just get that feeling something is going to go wrong with this plan. It's that whole universe thing. (AP Photo/CBS Face the Nation, Karin Cooper)

The half decent and (relatively) factual part of Rove’s speech/article was left out – that’s the way they always start – the following is where he thinks the McCain campaign should go – and how they should get there.

So much riding on Palin….I just had my own Rovian thought !!

Achilles was only as strong as his heel !!

>…>

McCain-Palin must deepen those doubts by pounding away on questions about Obama’s character, judgment and values. Drawing on Obama’s own record and statements, they need to paint him as a big spender, class warrior and cultural elitist; they need to say he’s never worked across party lines or gotten his hands dirty solving big issues. But the duo must also give voters reasons to support them. They must crystallize a positive, forward-looking vision so people who see Obama as unqualified have something to hang on to. It can’t be a laundry list of positions. McCain-Palin must offer a narrative about what they will do to help America see better days, especially on kitchen-table concerns.

McCain must launch these themes in the two remaining debates. Knockouts are welcome but unlikely and unnecessary. Introducing a theme and sticking to it day after day worked this past July, when McCain successfully depicted Obama as a celebrity taken with his own press notices. The GOP nominee did it right in the first debate when his assaults were formal and indirect (“Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record …”) while Obama was personal and direct (“John, 10 days ago you said …”).

McCain and Palin should also respond to key misstatements by Obama-Biden, but only to flip the discussion back to Obama’s own deficits. They should not chase rabbits: that would only occupy time better devoted to who can fix the big stuff broken in Washington and reach across the aisle to work for the American people by putting country first.

The election still favors Obama. But Sarah Palin’s debate performance, and the passage of the economic-rescue plan, may bookend a bad couple of weeks for McCain. He has a month to turn things around. It’s doable; but it won’t be easy.

Source: Newsweek

December 2019
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